Martyn Jago
by Martyn Jago
3 min read




The LoRa Protocol is a type of low-power, long-range wireless communication technology that is used for the Internet of Things (IoT) and other machine-to-machine (M2M) applications. The term “LoRa” is short for “long range,” and it was developed by a company called Semtech.

LoRa technology operates in the unlicensed radio frequency band and uses a technique called spread spectrum modulation to enable long-range communication with low power consumption. The LoRa protocol uses chirp spread spectrum (CSS) modulation, which is a type of direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) modulation that spreads the signal over a wider frequency range than conventional frequency-shift keying (FSK) modulation. This enables LoRa devices to achieve a range of several kilometers with low power consumption.

LoRa technology uses a star network topology, with LoRa gateways serving as a bridge between the end devices and the back-end network. The end devices, which can be sensors or other IoT devices, use the LoRa protocol to communicate with the gateways, which then forward the data to the network server using a backhaul connection such as Ethernet, cellular, or Wi-Fi.

One of the key benefits of the LoRa protocol is its ability to operate in challenging environments, such as urban areas with high levels of interference. LoRa also supports bi-directional communication, which enables devices to both send and receive data.

Overall, the LoRa protocol is a promising technology for IoT and M2M applications, due to its long-range capabilities, low power consumption, and ability to operate in challenging environments.


LoraWAN is a protocol that is built on top of the LoRa physical layer technology. It is a related but separate technology.

While LoRa is the physical layer technology that enables long-range, low-power communication, LoRaWAN is the protocol that governs the communication between LoRa devices and the back-end network. LoRaWAN provides features such as security, data rates, and network management, which are necessary for deploying LoRa-based IoT solutions at scale.

LoRaWAN uses a star-of-stars network architecture, which enables devices to communicate directly with a gateway, and the gateways to communicate with a central network server. This architecture enables LoRaWAN to support large-scale deployments, with millions of devices connected to a single network.

LoRaWAN supports both uplink and downlink communication, enabling devices to both send data to the network and receive commands or messages from the network. It also provides features such as adaptive data rate (ADR), which adjusts the data rate based on signal strength and interference levels, and over-the-air activation (OTAA), which simplifies the process of joining a LoRaWAN network.

Overall, while LoRa and LoRaWAN are related technologies, they serve different purposes. LoRa provides the physical layer technology for long-range, low-power communication, while LoRaWAN provides the network protocol and infrastructure for building scalable IoT solutions.


LoRa | LoraWAN